The new page-turning Stone Barrington novel from the perennially entertaining New York Times best-selling author. Stone Barrington is enjoying his usual dinner at Elaine's when his boss at Woodman & Weld, the law firm where Stone is "of counsel," walks in, sits down, and hands Stone a check for one million dollars. It seems Stone's undercover dealings with MI6 have brought in a big new client for the firm, and they're willing to pay Stone a huge bonus and make him a partner. But almost as soon as he's taken the deal, Stone gets wind of an impending scandal that might torpedo his big promotion: It may be that the lucrative new client whom he's introduced to the firm might be a Bernie Madoff in disguise...
©2010 Stuart Woods (P)2011 Penguin
Unsatisfactory conclusion to any or all plot points. I listened to it twice to be sure I didn't somehow miss something. This novel only serves as a means for Mr Woods to upgrade Stones armored Mercedes to a Bentley, and his turbo-prop plane to a Jet. Skip it!
The actions and words of Barrington are preposterous. The dialogue is trite. There are so many flaws in the plot I'm surprised the publishers let it all pass.
I have read or listened to every Stone Barrington novel. I have enjoyed them all. In this book Woods entirely miscalculates on behalf of his beloved character and departs from some vital characteristics that make Stone Barrington a draw. Without discussing anything about the plot, Woods deprives Barrington of an authentic reaction as a New Yorker with respect to terrorism, sympathy or even interest in a murdered acquaintance, resolution of a mystery or even any real meaningful communication with his longtime detective buddy. I have enjoyed all previous stories, but this is like your favorite restaurant losing a chef . . . everything looks the same, but very disappointing.
I now have the dubious distinction of having "read" all of Stuart Woods audiobooks, first to last, in order. Chiefs was exceptional and implanted in me the hope that at least one of the subsequent books would measure up. They never did and this is no exception. The characters' voices (their language not the tone of the narrator) were still more akin to my grandmothers era.
Of course, every character is still rich, super hot, overwhelmingly lucky, and engage in close, intense sexual relationships without much preamble... Let's go to Elaine's, have steak and Knob Creek, then shag like bunnies.. Oh and what was your name again? Fine, once. Twice, OK. But multiple times per book across a very long series, no friggin way. Wilt Chamberlain didn't shag that often.
Oh wait, also everyone has their own private plane. Everyone has a direct line to the President and the head of the CIA. Everyone drives a Mercedes, even as a rental car. Really, which Hertz is this again? Anyway, my plan (mostly because it seems like Stuart Woods approach too) is to copy and paste this review across several books. I read them all. They are all the same. So they deserve the same review.
Why did I read them all, you might ask. Chiefs was fantastic. There were glimmers of hope here and there in the early going with series protagonists Stone, Eddie, Holly, Will, etc. They were as entertaining as reruns of later Love Boat episodes. You always know exactly what you're going to get. You don't have to worry about nuance or complexity or even real adversity. Perfect as a beach or road trip read, because it won't matter if you lose your place or fall asleep (not recommended for the driver in the road trip scenario).
If you want better, try Lee Child or Harlan Coben series. Both are much more believable. Early David Baldacci too. For non-series works, try Linwood Barclay. If anyone else agrees with my assessments and thinks I'm missing out on other alternatives, please post them.
The story was great, the narrator fantastic, and I'd have maxed the stars except that poor Stone appears to have become a little less less interested in women and a lot more interested in airplanes, and there's not enough Dino in the story for me.
But - it was a great listen, an interesting premise, something I'll definitely listen to again.
I read an audio book while riding my exercise bike in order to relieve the boredom. This is the first, and I hope the last, that is infinitely more boring than riding the bike. There is no suspense, no tension, no character development, and virtually no plot. Don't waste your money on this one.
I haven't finished listening to this poor excuse for a murder mystery yet and I may not. I just can't begin to care about the undeveloped characters and constantly changing plot lines. It reads more like a TV script than an actual well developed novel. I liked the earlier books with these characters but the last couple I've tried to listen to have degraded considerably. Seems to be written for the ADHD readers who can't be bothered to listen to story development.
I've read or listened to most of the Stone Barrington series from Stuart Woods and while they are entertaining, this most recent entry has become formulaic, and that's not a good thing. Stone seems to have ventured far from his humble roots in that he now receives million-dollar bonuses and defends international arms dealers without moral qualm. The plot is workable, but one senses that crafting plots is not Mr. Woods' main reason for writing these stories any longer. He seems to like discussing flying airplanes, fine dining and wines, and putting forth a platform to advertise such things as the Today show and Mercedes automobiles (joining James Patterson I might add). Tony Roberts does a fine job with the narration and brings Stone and his buddies to life. He just can't save a tired story.
If you're new to the Stone Barrington series, stick to the early stories. If you want to read or listen to Stuart Woods at his best, try "Chiefs", an excellent work on all levels.
I love the mysteries in all the Stuart Woods books but I could do without the very explicit details of Stone's ever changing love/lust life.
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